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Refers to a condition of pregnancy where a risk develops either with regard to the health or life of the expectant mother or the fetus or both. It is condition where extreme care has to be employed in handling the expectant mother under the supervision of experts.

High risk pregnancy is often seen in expectant mothers beyond 35 years of age. It can also develop in cases of expectant mothers as pregnancy progresses. A number of factors are related to High Risk Pregnancies and have been listed below.

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What are some factors that make a pregnancy high risk?

As mentioned, several factors can contribute to a high risk pregnancy. We have broadly classified them into Existing Health Conditions, Age, Lifestyle Factors and Conditions of Pregnancy


Age is an important factor for healthy pregnancy. Women of ages 20 – 35 are said to be in the prime of their birthing years. Giving birth during ages beyond the prescribed years could result in complications

  • Teen Pregnancy – Teenage mothers are likely to develop high blood pressure and anemia. Their chances of being affected with sexually transmitted disease is also high. Additionally, prenatal care might not be easily available leading to high risk pregnancy
  • First time pregnancy after 35 years of age – leads to complications such as excessive bleeding during labor, prolonged labor or children born with genetic disorders such as the Down’s Syndrome etc

Existing Health Condition

A lot of pre-existing health conditions that exist before or during pregnancy can result in High-risk pregnancy.

  • High Blood Pressure which is uncontrolled often leads to kidney damage and result in low-birth weight in the child.
  • A condition called PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can result in miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and premature delivery.
  • Diabetes – High blood sugar levels can result in birth defects during the first few weeks of pregnancy
  • Kidney disease – can lead to difficulty in conceiving and at miscarriages, even if conception has been successful
  • Autoimmune diseases – diseases such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis could lead to preterm birth, still birth etc
  • Thyroid – uncontrolled thyroidism – hype or hypo thyroidism can cause heart failure, poor weight gain and birth defects in the fetus
  • Excessive usage of drugs for pregnancy – increased use of drugs that aid in pregnancy can also result in complications of the placenta and lead to vaginal bleeding
  • Obesity – Obesity is known to increase the chances of getting pregnant difficult. But once, pregnancy has been achieved, it is said that obese women gain very little weight that is essential for the growing fetus and thus might not give birth to healthy infants
  • HIV/AIDS – HIV/AIDS damages the immune system and make the body prone to infections and diseases. Risk of passing on the virus to the fetus is high during labor or breast feeding

Lifestyle Factors

Consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking and recreational drugs can lead to numerous complications and cause addiction even in the new born or result in infants suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Some of the problems that are seen often are pre-term births, miscarriages, still-birth, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) etc.

Conditions of Pregnancy

Such as Multiple Gestation (pregnancy with twins, triplets or more), gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy) and Preeclampsia( sudden increase of blood pressure after 20th week of pregnancy) can all lead to various complications that can be a risk factor for successful pregnancy

A Women Holding a New Born Baby

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is a condition when loss of pregnancy results in three or more different pregnancies but consecutively i.e, continuously one after another. A pregnancy loss is when pregnancy ends or is lost involuntarily before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Causes of recurrent pregnancy loss could be genetic or chromosomal, greater maternal age (over the age of 35 years) where the quality of egg is poor, abnormality of the uterus, immune system, hormonal imbalance and many more.

Treatment of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Surgery: Surgery is often employed when the cause of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is due to the anatomy of the reproductive organs such as the uterus and complications with reference to the physicality of the organ – this could be correcting the septum, fibroids, tumors, scar tissues, correction of shape of abnormal uterus etc.
Blood-thinning medicines: Blood Thinning medicines are administered in cases of Thrombophilia disorders – disorders where clotting of blood in placenta prevents nutrients from reaching the developing fetus, thereby eventually causing miscarriage. Prescribing low doses of baby aspirin and heparin helps thin the clots and allow for nutrients to reach the fetus.
Correcting other medical problems: Recurrent loss of pregnancy is correlated to other medical problem such as abnormal levels of blood sugar, hypo or hyper thyroidism or high levels of prolactic. Solving these issues can help in tackling the other condition.
Genetic screening: Chromosomal abnormalities is one of the causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Thus, screening of such abnormalities often referred to as translocations or inversions, can result in better diagnosis and treatment. Methods used to screen genetic abnormalities are cytogenetics, array comparative genomic hybridization etc
Lifestyle Choices: It has been emphasized that lifestyle choices such as substance abuse – alcohol, cigarettes, other recreational drugs, excessive usage of caffeine, body weight and other sedentary lifestyle choices can lead to Recurrent Pregnancy loss. This has to be avoided for future success of pregnancy

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